Euro 2024: Huge open-top bus parade lined up if England beat Spain in Sunday's final

Euro 2024: Huge open-top bus parade lined up if England beat Spain in Sunday's final

England will head for Buckingham Palace on a victory parade if they win the Euros on Sunday, the Standard can exclusively reveal.

Preparations are at an advanced stage for Gareth Southgate’s squad to be honoured by the King and the royal family if they defeat Spain and claim the trophy for the first time.

A massive open-top bus parade would take the team from Guildhall, in the City of London, to the palace via Trafalgar Square on Tuesday, it is understood.

Up to a million fans could line the streets if England land their first trophy since 1966.

Two days of celebrations would begin on Monday with the team lined up to meet Prime Minister Sir Keir Starmer — who is expected to attend the final in Berlin on Sunday — at Downing Street.

A royal reception, likely to be headed by Prince William, president of the Football Association, has also been pencilled in for Monday. Tuesday would be a massive public celebration, starting with a reception at Guildhall — the historic home of the City of London Corporation and Lord Mayor of London — before the parade via Trafalgar Square and The Mall to the palace.

There would not be a parade if Spain — the favourites — defeat England.

A victory royal event would have echoes of the England rugby team winning the World Cup in 2003, when they went to Buckingham Palace to meet the Queen.

Harry Kane celebrates scoring England's first goal against the Netherlands (Getty Images)
Harry Kane celebrates scoring England's first goal against the Netherlands (Getty Images)

In 1966, the Queen presented the World Cup trophy to England captain Bobby Moore at Wembley stadium.

Ollie Watkins’s late winner against the Netherlands on Wednesday night has sparked a last-minute stampede of fans trying to get to Berlin in time for Sunday night’s final.

Spain beat France on Tuesday, 24 hours ahead of England, giving their fans extra time to sort out flights, trains, tickets and accommodation.

A search this morning on one popular booking website revealed three-quarters of its accommodation in the German capital on Sunday night had already been snapped up. Remaining options including shared rooms in mixed dormitories were going for more than £100.

There are still flights available but prices are sky-high with a seat on a plane from London Gatwick to Berlin on Easyjet today or on the day of the game fetching £917.99 with prices back down to a more normal £104 by Monday.

England's Phil Foden celebrates with family members after the semi-final victory (Adam Davy/PA Wire)
England's Phil Foden celebrates with family members after the semi-final victory (Adam Davy/PA Wire)

The FA has also warned fans that sale windows for its official tickets will only be open for “a few hours” and advised those travelling tomorrow when the sale takes place to “ask a member of your travelling group, or a family member, to log in and purchase on your behalf”.

That will drive fans to resale sites with one offering its cheapest ticket at £1,558 on Thursday while also selling VIP packages for an eye-watering £66,000.

Perhaps mindful of the stress faced by fans trying to reach the final, the King in his official message to the team led by Southgate asked them to to watch out for the nation’s blood pressure in the final clash with Spain.

He said: “My wife and I join all our family in wishing you the warmest congratulations on reaching the final of the UEFA European Championship — and in sending our very best wishes for Sunday’s match. If I may encourage you to secure victory before the need for any last minute wonder-goals or another penalties drama, I am sure the stresses on the nation’s collective heart rate and blood pressure would be greatly alleviated! Good luck, England.”

England made it to the final after Aston Villa star Watkins scored the latest winning goal in a European Championship or World Cup semi-final, excluding extra-time.

Thursday’s Standard front page celebrating England’s historic semi-final win (Evening Standard)
Thursday’s Standard front page celebrating England’s historic semi-final win (Evening Standard)

The Three Lions had fallen behind after seven minutes to a Xavi Simons strike but a controversial Harry Kane penalty, awarded by VAR, brought the scores level 10 minutes later, before Watkins’ late, late intervention.

The Prince of Wales, who is a Villa fan and is likely to travel to Berlin for the final, also congratulated England and singled out Watkins for praise in a message on social media.

He said: “What a beauty, Ollie! Congratulations England! #EURO2024 Finalists.”

England midfielder Kobbie Mainoo said: “I feel like the only way is up and it’s time to put ourselves into history.”